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SOCs to face greater challenges from cybercriminals targeting governments and media in 2023

According to Kaspersky research experts' predictions for challenges in Security Operation Centers (SOCs) in 2023, the number of incidents in government and mass media segments will increase this year. SOCs from these and other industries are likely to face more reoccurring targeted attacks, as will supply chain attacks via telecommunication providers. Another threat awaiting SOCs will be more initial compromises through public-facing applications. Organizations that are threatened by ransomware attacks might also encounter data destruction.

More reoccurring targeted attacks by state-sponsored actors  

In 2022, Kaspersky experts saw the average number of incidents in the mass media sector double in growth from 263 in 2021, to 561 in 2022.  Throughout the last year, a number of high-profile cases occurred including when Iranian state TV broadcasting was interrupted by hackers during protests in the country. Media outlets were also subject to DDoS attacks like those in Czech Republic.

Alongside the government sector where the average number of incidents increased by 36% in 2022, mass media became the prime target for cybercriminals among the 13 other analyzed segments including industrial, food, development, financial, and others.

This growth will continue in 2023, with reoccurring targeted attacks by state-sponsored actors. While this is normally relevant for government organizations, the mass media segment has been increasingly targeted during international conflicts that are traditionally accompanied by information warfare where mass media inevitably play an important role.

"Large businesses and government agencies have always been targets of cybercriminals and state-sponsored actors, but geopolitical turbulence increased attackers' motivations and enlivened hacktivism, which cybersecurity specialists have not regularly encountered until 2022," said Sergey Soldatov, head of security operation center (SOC) at Kaspersky. "The new wave of politically-motivated attacks is especially relevant for the government and mass media sectors. To effectively protect a company, it's necessary to implement a comprehensive threat detection and remediation provided through Managed Detection and Response services."

Supply chain attacks via telecommunication providers

In 2023, perpetrators may increase supply chain strikes by attacking telecommunication companies. For the first time in 2021, the telecom industry saw a prevalence of high severity incidents throughout the year. While in 2022 the average share of high severity incidents was lower (79 in 2021 per 10k systems monitored, versus roughly 12 in 2022), these companies remain attractive targets for cybercriminals.

Ransomware destroyers; initial compromises via public-facing applications

Throughout 2022, Kasperksy observed a new ransomware trend that will continue in 2023: ransomware actors will not only encrypt companies' data but also destroy it. This is relevant for organizations which are subject to politically-driven attacks.

Another threat awaiting SOCs is more initial compromises through public-facing applications. Penetration from the perimeter requires less preparation than phishing and old vulnerabilities are still exposed.

What SOCs will face internally? Processes and efficiency

In 2023, it will be imperative for SOCs to develop the skills of their team to counter the increasing amount of threats. Trainings such as incident response or any form of SOC exercises such as TTX, purple teaming, and advisory attack simulations, will be of vital importance.

The growing threat landscape leads to increasing budgets and demand for more efficiencies. Increasing numbers of incidents and threats transforms into a need to predict attacks and techniques, raising the value of threat intelligence and hunting.

To read the full report on SOC challenges in 2023, please visit Securelist.comClick here to read other KSB pieces.

Published Monday, January 23, 2023 1:12 PM by David Marshall
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